Will Microsoft, Xbox and PMDG teams collectively find a way to update nav data?

I pose a challenge to Jorg Neumann, Phil Spencer, and Robert Randazzo:

Work together to find a way to update the navdata on the very expensive PMDG planes (such as the 737) for Xbox.

I do not understand how a “Premium” flight simulator, a Premium console maker, and a company that is, and I quote from the PMDG website, “well known for attention to detail, innovation and thoroughness,” can’t work together on behalf of paying customers get something as cental and foundational as nav data updated.

I won’t waste your time with the ridiculous finger pointing answers I’ve received from each team on this issue. PMDG says it’s in Microsoft’s hands, Microsoft says it’s PMDG’s problem. The marketplace has no warning that nav data is locked at an old v2204 version and can never be updated. And like that, customers get the short end of the stick, you all lose business and respect - and it’s a pretty bad look.

I can’t help but feel like this is a larger, proxy fight between NavBlue and Navigraph, and paying customers are caught in the middle. It’s really a shame.

C’mon everyone, can’t you find solutions? Thanks.


For some context to my post, I’ve learned the following:

MSFS uses NavBlue nav data, and provides an API for 3rd party content makers (ie, planes) to access - and encourages them to do so. There are regular AIRAC data updates applied automatically in MSFS (13 per year?).

PMDG claims the NavBlue data is not “what they need for simulation”, and so they embed a Navigraph snapshot from v2204, which has no path for being updated on Xbox.

“The MSFS navigation data simply does not have all the information we need for our simulation. You will find exactly the same with all more advanced simulated airliners.” - email from PMDG

Their argument makes no sense. How a plane works has nothing to do with what waypoints the pilot wants to use in a flight plan. Also, I use Navigraph on an iPad, and import Simbrief plans in to the default 787, with (almost) no problems of missing or mismatch data when both are using the same AIRAC version. Maybe 1 here and there, easy to fix.

PMDG claims the update process is in Microsoft’s hands:

“We use the standard Navigraph database. As soon as that is available on Xbox, you can get a new navdatabase 13 times a year. That is just not in our hands. As soon as the simulator contains a navdatabase that contains all the data that we need, we will for sure support that as well. It’s all in Microsoft’s hands.” - email from PMDG

But that’s not true either - the nav data is just a file, they can submit regular updates via the marketplace, but I believe are chosing not to.

I am coming to the conclusion that PMDG must have some exclusivity deal with Navigraph, or have some unstated reason to not allow NavBlue data to be used in their planes. Or, maybe they just didn’t want to edit their code (written for FS and P3D) to use the MSFS API. I thought that was why it cost so much - to make sure it worked with MSFS.

Regardless, I actually think that Microsoft should have imposed SOME kind of quality assurance for paying customers, that required PMDG to provide a CHOICE in the plane to use the embeded but out of date Navigraph nav data, or switch to the sim’s native NavBlue nav data. And, further, the Marketplace should have explicitly warned of the inability to update nav data, and lack of choice.

I really like the plane, but I’m requesting a refund of my first and only purchase. I doubt anyone at MS or Xbox is listening, but you are losing easy revenue to this kind of thing that completely undermines confidence.

From what I’ve been told; the MSFS AIRAC misses stuff like missed approach procedures, which pretty much all complex airliners have implemented. So using the MSFS AIRAC would stop that functionality from working (and likely break the FMS/MCDU entirely). There’s likely more limitations like that with the MSFS AIRAC.

So no, there are no exclusivity deals.

All complex airliners work like that, Fenix, Aerosoft, PMDG and likely others as well.


The native navdata - with missed approach procedures - works fine with the new 787 and 747. I import SImbrief / Navigraph flight plans in to the 787 (which uses the NavBlue database) and they match 99% of the time. So this is a bogus argument.

Also, why is having a database that goes further out of date every month forever better than a database that is up to date and maybe different on less than a fraction of data?

I don’t care what data set - I care that I can never get updated data. Ever. And, that these 2 companies won’t find a solution for the paying customer.


maybe the missed approaches got added later on, not sure.

I understand your frustration, but they’re not doing it because of an exclusivity deal, or to make you unhappy on purpose.
A notification about this on the marketplace page would probably be helpful I would agree.

The warning about nav data being out of date with no update path would be a small improvement - but I see no reason why they can’t work together to find a solution to allow the nav data to be updated.

Neither team asks, “what is best for the customer”?

And, how do you know it’s not an exclusivity deal?

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who knows. I can imagine MS being VERY wary of third parties injecting data into their very secure and safe platform.
There’s a reason you don’t get virusses, spyware, ransomware, keyloggers, credit card theft etc. on XBox. The platform is locked down, and I don’t see them being enthousiastic about opening it up.

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It’s literally a data file, not exectable. It would go via the normal marketplace update procedure, with all the scans, etc. - marketplace content receive updates all the time. They are chosing NOT to.

Might be an exclusivity deal between MS and Navblue. It’s not something the third party developers have much part in I’d wager.


No, I think it’s a deal between PMDG and Navigraph - they have to have a deal of some sort for PMDG to embed the v2204 data in the plane as it is now on the Marketplace. I can only surmise from the “rationale” I got from PMDG by email that they can’t allow NavBlue data. Or, as I said, they didn’t want to make the investment to change their code for MSFS to use the sim navdata API like everyone else. Either way, unstated reasons, and customer gets stuck.

If that’s what you chose to believe, guess there’s not much I can say.


Which part - for PMDG to include Navigraph nav data v2204 in the 737, they would have to have a licensing contract. Do you disagree?

I have asked some insiders about how updates work, how nav data updates work, and there is no reason PMDG can’t provide them. But, PMDG is stating to me that “it’s in Microsoft’s hands.” So, you tell me.

Obviously for PMDG to include Navigraph nav data would require a license, so do you suggest that PMDG forces marketplace customers to pay a 10 dollar / month subscription fee? Because having the navdata updates included in the plane, would require a per-user subscription.
Even worse for PC users who bought the plane on Marketplace, and are already paying for a Navigraph subscription. Would you want to force them to pay double?

It’s also not Navigraph exclusive. I believe that Aerosoft navdata updates work for the PMDG as well.

If the Navblue airac was complete enough to make the PMDG systems work, that would be an option. I tend to believe PMDG in this case though, rather than a theory that they have a deal with navigraph preventing that.

So yes, I would say that’s entirely out of PMDG’s hands. If MS would allow Navigraph subscriptions to update the sim navdata on xbox, that would set it entirely in MS’s hands wouldn’t you agree?

I would also guess that MS has some sort of deal with navblue, making that a legal impossibility, but that’s just guesswork from my side.

PMDG could:

  • spend the time to code for their 737 on MSFS Xbox to use the sim’s navdata API
  • included a choice for customers to switch
  • submit updated navdata via the marketplace update process periodically if they aren’t going to provide a way to use the sim’s navdata

And MSFS could have:

  • required plane makers allow the plane to use the sim’s navdata API and/or a choice if the plane maker prefers another source
  • if plane maker insists on another nav data source, ensure / require a path for periodic updates

If a pilot is happy with the sim’s nav data, why would PMDG care what waypoints or procedures a pilot is using?

I don’t know the technical details here or have a solution for you either way, but I want to point out that:

  1. MSFS airport data is essentially stuck at 2015 or so. They say they are providing updates, but there are old airports all over the place in the sim. For instance, the navdata still has runway 2-20 at KFIT in it, and many other closed runways and is missing other runway changes. So there’s no way the “NavBlue” data is up to date anywhere. I don’t even know what the purpose of these “airac” updates Microsoft says it does are for. And I can’t imagine the editing they have to do to figure out what to throw out of the new AIRAC data to get the sim to work. No wonder the AP is a mess all the time.

  2. When the sim was released, KASH, a super busy airport had no approach data. I had to program them in myself (I had figured out how back in the FSX days). Finally I think a year and a half later it was added in.

  3. The taxiway data in the sim couldn’t be more horrid. It blows me away how bad it is.

I can’t imagine how many airports are out of date. I’d love to know what those “Airac” updates Microsoft pushes are doing.

Maybe PMDG had to make a choice as they couldn’t support both. So they chose the Navigraph route. To me, this seems the most likely reason.

P.S. I’ve talked to Airline pilots, and even they’ve told me that NavBlue data stinks and they hate it. It would have been wayyy better if Microsoft/Asobo had chosen Jeppesen instead. And I hear Jeppesen wanted in.

PMDG could:

  • spent the time to code for their 737 on MSFS Xbox to use the sim’s navdata API

No, not if the navblue dataset misses data required for the FMS to work.

doubt that’s technically possible, seeing how much it’s integrated in the FMS

No, they can’t, since monthly navdata updates require a personal license. Them buying off Navigraph for lifetime updates would likely make the plane cost 100’s or 1000’s of dollars.

while that sounds logical/enticing, that would end up with planes with less detailed systems than the developers and end users would want, if it was technically possible at all.

if the missing data makes the system break, they can’t provide the experience they are targeting for their users. And having to maintain two separate codebases for two entirely different versions of the plane would be cost prohibitive anyways.


What missing data? How would it make the plane “break”.

I repeat, I use Simbrief to plan a flight (which is Navigraph data), I import the flight in to the default 787 (which is MSFS / NavBlue), and there is no issue. It imports the flight plan route (no Sid, Star or Approach). In the plane, I optionally choose a SID, STAR, and Approach (from the Sim’s data) and fly.

There is nothing there that would (or could) “break” a plane. It’s a false argument.

And, It’s not up to me to solve this problem - I’m a customer. MS and PMDG could work it out if they wanted to. They don’t seem to care, and I get stuck with a $100 plane with stale data, and no path to update it. Seems like they could do better, which is what I’m asking.

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I think maybe the airports are out of date because MSFS uses a stale, static snapshot of Bing Maps from … 10 years ago? That probably explains it. The AIRAC cycle updates do update the waypoints, airways and Sid, Star, Approches, but then probably omit runways (and airports) that don’t exist in that old snapshot.

What a mess.


For someone who never bothered paying Navigraph’s monthly fee and use Little Navmap, I never knew PMDG’s data was stuck at over a year ago. I would have thought that MSFS had consolidated navigation data so venders would not need to provide additional data, which seemed not the case. They should have noted it on the marketplace page.

Edit: I’d wonder if the new FMS for JF’s 146 requires additional nav data updates.

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Microsoft uses NavBlue (a provider of real world nav data, owned by Airbus). MSFS provides an API for developers to access and to use this data for navigation in the sim, and MSFS provides “AIRAC” cycle updates (13 per year?) to stay up to date. I think this is in the occaisional “Mandatory Updates” you get when launching the sim. Waypoints, radio frequencies, SIDs, STARs, Approaches and Missed Approach procedures, etc., can all change month to month, so for flight planning in airliners, it’s kind of essential.

Navigraph repackages data from other providers, mainly Jeppesen (owned by Boeing, and maker of real world charts) for flight sim purposes. Mostly the NavBlue and Navigraph data match for the same AIRAC cycle - you do get the odd mismatch if you import a Simbrief (Navigraph) flightplan in to a plane that has the sim’s default NavBlue database, but it’s usually an easy fix for a waypoint…

I believe on PC you can choose to use Navigraph data instead of the sim’s data, if you have a Navigraph subscription… since I’m on Xbox I don’t have that option, even though I do subscribe to Navigraph.

I have to think that most planes are using the sim’s default navdata API. The “premium” 3rd party plane designers like PMDG have their reasons for wanting to use Navigraph, but when the logic results in a dead end for customers (such as the 737 on Xbox), that’s a problem.